Just over a month ago, LeadingAge welcomed members of the Visiting Nurse Association of America/ElevatingHOME (VNAA) into our fold.
VNAA members became LeadingAge members through a process we began months ago.
COVID-19 has underscored the critical importance of that affiliation—in ways we might not have predicted.
LeadingAge has long been committed to representing the full spectrum of long-term services and supports—including both residential and home-based care and services. The pandemic reinforced and strengthened that commitment by making it tragically clear that older adults, wherever they live, are extremely susceptible to COVID-19 and at high risk for experiencing devastating outcomes if they become infected with the virus.
Older adults live in a variety of settings: assisted living; independent living; life plan communities; federally-assisted independent living; and individual’s homes and apartments, where home health, non-medical home care, or hospice services may be provided. They also receive services through the Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly, adult day services, senior centers, the Village Model, and other community-based programs.
All of these settings play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of older adults. All of these settings need government support—during the pandemic and beyond—to do their critical work.
LeadingAge’s newest members from VNAA offer home health, hospice, and other home-based care to thousands of beneficiaries nationwide. In welcoming these new members to LeadingAge, we welcome new colleagues and partners, in the same way that your organizations were welcomed as colleagues and partners when you joined LeadingAge.
As partners, we help each other pursue our common mission to provide a full range of long-term services and supports, and to ensure that older adults have access to that continuum in their local communities.
As partners, we make sure the needs and preferences of older adults are met, even as those needs and preferences change over the life of the individual.
As partners, we look to each other to leverage our strengths, fill gaps, and extend our missions to serve more people in different ways.
Opportunities to partner are vast. They require that we seek mission alignment and that we are willing to give up a measure of control in order to achieve something that we can do better together than either organization could do alone. We have much to learn about new members, their work, and how that work might connect with our work.
Partnerships among LeadingAge members make us all stronger. They allow us to live more fully our shared mission to meet the needs and preferences of older adults wherever they live. It takes a diversity of settings and a diversity of services to fulfill that mission.
Partnership also gives LeadingAge a stronger and more respected voice among policy makers, in the media, and among consumers. It positions us well to continue to lead our field into the future.
I look forward to journeying toward that future together.